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Baghdad Blasts Kill U.S. Civilians; Other Attacks Kill Soldiers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2004 – Two explosions within seconds of each other rocked Baghdad's International Zone today, killing three U.S. civilians and wounding two servicemembers. Four U.S. soldiers have been killed in other incidents since Oct. 13.

Military officials said two blasts occurred at about 12:40 p.m. in the heavily guarded International Zone, formerly known as the Green Zone, which contains Iraqi government buildings and the U.S. Embassy. Those explosions killed five civilians in all and wounded 20 others. A U.S. soldier and an airman were among those injured, along with two U.S. civilians.

Military officials investigating the incident said the explosive devices appear to have been hand-carried to the two locations in the International Zone.

Today's deaths added to a deadly week for the United States, as attacks have killed four U.S. soldiers over the past 48 hours.

A coalition press release said one Task Force Baghdad soldier was killed today and two others were wounded by an improvised explosive device in eastern Baghdad at about 11:25 a.m. Another Task Force Baghdad soldier was killed in central Baghdad when a patrol was attacked with small-arms fire at about 1:45 p.m.

Coalition officials also reported that at about 2:20 p.m. Oct. 13, two Task Force Olympia soldiers were killed in a car-bomb attack on their convoy in northeastern Mosul. Five other soldiers were wounded in this attack, which involved a suicide bomber driving a car loaded with explosives into the convoy.

Two of the wounded from this attack have been returned to duty, and three are being treated at the military hospital in Mosul, military officials reported.

The names of the soldiers killed in the three attacks are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Military officials are investigating those attacks.

Meanwhile, coalition forces are continuing offensive operations against the forces of fugitive terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the city of Fallujah.

This afternoon, coalition forces launched an attack at 2:20 p.m. local time on a safe house in north-central Fallujah that reportedly belonged to a high-level Zarqawi associate. Secondary explosions were reported after the strike, military officials said.

Earlier today, coalition forces conducted precision strikes on a weapons- storage site in the southern part of the city and on another safe house located in Fallujah's Jolan district.

Military officials said "reliable intelligence" sources confirmed that several Zarqawi terrorists were operating in those facilities at the time of the strikes.

In a statement, a military spokesman said the strikes were "carefully planned and carried out to eliminate Zarqawi's ability to harm innocent people."

"A top priority (of the coalition) is to avoid harming civilians and causing damage," the official said. "However, by operating and hiding among civilians, the terrorists endanger innocent civilians and are directly responsible for any harm to the women and children they hide behind."

Military officials report the Iraqi government and multinational forces have made great strides in dismantling Zarqawi's terrorist network in an effort to make the country safe and stable for January elections.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq press releases.)

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